What Minnesota commuters should know as railway labor deal averts strike

Freight rail cars sit in a Norfolk Southern rail yard
Freight rail cars sit in a Norfolk Southern rail yard on Wednesday in Atlanta.
Danny Karnik | AP

The tentative nationwide contract agreement with railroad workers will avert — or end —changes to passenger rail service in Minnesota.

Amtrak says it’s now working to restore train service that had been canceled by the potential strike — including the Empire Builder route across Minnesota.

While the labor dispute involved freight railroads, there were concerns that passenger trains that use the freight railways’ tracks could be left stranded in the event of a work stoppage.

Amtrak said it’s reaching out directly to affected customers and trying to get them on their way. In addition to the Empire Builder, Amtrak had canceled many of its other long-distance routes because of the potential national strike and its impact on track availability.

In the Twin Cities, Metro Transit says its Northstar Commuter Rail service will run as usual on Friday.

The agency had earlier cautioned it might need to switch Northstar to buses in event of a strike.

The Northstar line between Minneapolis and the northwest metro is operated under contract with BNSF Railway, and would have been affected had there been a strike.

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